Rough start doesn’t stop Awkward Moose

Evan Wingren

It is a new year, which means a fresh batch of improvisation from Linfield’s Awkward Moose club.

The club was established in 2006 and has continued to grow each year. Senior Matt Cantelon is one of the founders and has been involved since the beginning.

 “We have about 30 members this year,” Cantelon said.

Senior Zane Johnston recalls the first year of the club.

“We were lucky to have six to eight people in our meetings that first year,” he said.

Cantelon said the idea started when he and some of his friends attended a theater conference and decided improv would be a great club to have at Linfield.

“Matt has really been the driving force for the club,” Johnston said. “Up until 2006, there were attempts to start improv clubs. They would just have a couple meetings and sort of fizzle out.”

There have also been improvements in other areas.

“We have a lot more members attending meetings, and our chemistry has really increased acting together these past two years,” Cantelon said.

Awkward Moose acts out mostly short form improvisation and some long form.

The group plans to perform at ComedySportz in Portland this spring, as well as give performances on campus.

On Aug. 29, the group did an improvisation show during freshman orientation that seemed to be a huge. It was also the group’s largest show to date: Approximately 250 people showed up to watch the quick wit and drama of the show.

“Usually we just have our shows in Withnell Commons, and we just set up, like, 40 chairs and fill up half of them, but that was crazy,” Johnston said.

However, not everyone was a fan of the show.
Linfield received complaints from parents about the nature of some of
the skits.

“The actors in the improv group are all very talented, creative and quick-thinking, and we appreciated their skill. Unfortunately, the content often was somewhere between crude and obscene…We were saddened and a little surprised about this performance being part of the Linfield College-sponsored orientation schedule, and we wanted to let you know for future reference,” a letter from a parent said.

“We don’t try to offend people,” Cantelon said. “We just try to do the scenes as honestly and best [as] possible.”

Following the show, Johnston said the group spoke and decided that they should be more careful of the content of their shows, especially when parents are around.

With most of the leadership in the club graduating this year, Cantelon and Johnston said they hope the club will continue to build and prosper. Elections will be held in April to fill the leadership positions.

Awkward Moose welcomes new members. Meetings are Monday nights from 9:30-11 p.m. in Whithnell Commons.

“Improv is easy because everyone is funny,” Cantelon said. “You just have to teach yourself not to say no and say the first thing that comes to your head.”

The club also invites people to come watch if they don’t feel like improvising.

“The funny thing that  people don’t know is that a lot of people just come to watch,” Johnston said.

Awkward Moose will perform in Fred Meyer Lounge on Oct. 2.

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